On the west coast of Sithonia Peninsula, in a small bay, lies the resort village of Paradissos. Its name does not deceive – it is a heavenly place for relaxing holiday. What a guest should expect from Halkidiki?
- dark nights with a scattering of large stars in the sky,
- unhurried walks by the sea under the whisper of the waves,
- crystal purity turquoise-green sea,
- romantic dinners in the tavern right by the sea, with a view to the magnificent sunsets,
- clear air combined with the flawors of pine, sea and grass.
Paradissos is conveniently located near the town of Neos Marmaras, which is very lively at the height of the season. In addition, just to the north of the village there are a series of beautiful beaches, if you want to experience diversity.
Sithonia is the middle of the “fingers” of the Chalkidiki peninsula, covered with beautiful forests and surrounded by the turquoise waters of the Aegean Sea. The local population is not so much, there are few settlements. Visitors come here to enjoy the magnificent nature and beautiful beaches of the peninsula.
The Greeks have a famous joke about Chalkidiki:
If you want to find a girl – choose Cassandra.
If you already have a girlfriend – Sithonia.
If the girl left you – go to Athos! (monastic state).
In every joke there is some truth, of course. But in Sithonia you can have a great time, both with your family, in friends company and alone – everyone will find rest for themselves.
Where to go and what to see
If we talk about the surroundings, then first of all it is worth visiting the city of Neos Marmaras, whose suburb is Paradissos. The city has a beautiful embankment and harbor, many taverns, summer night clubs, cafes and bars. Quite a lot of clothing and shoes stores, souvenirs and local products.
Just a few kilometers from the village, if you go to the mountains, you will see Parthenonas, an old village with houses of traditional architecture. Stunning views of the Gulf Toroneos and Sithonia, picturesque houses and proximity of the natural reserve Itamos attract many tourists. In summer, events with traditional character and festivals are held in Parthenonas. From here you can go on a pedestrian walk to the Itamos mountain (Dragudelis ridge) and see the two thousand year old Itamos tree (berry yew). And at the entrance to Parthenonas, guests are greeted by an olive of 900-1000 years old.
About 20 km from Paradissos is the resort town of Toroni. In addition to the beautiful sandy beaches, Toroni is famous for her ruins of the ancient fortress of Likithos. In the 6th and 7th centuries BC, Toroni was a strong independent city. The walls of the ancient city are visible from the height of Cape Likithos – here is a favorite place for snorkel fans.
Immediately after Toroni is the village of Porto Kufo with a unique natural harbor, resembling a lake. Once the local bay was a shelter of Roman galleys, ships of the Turkish Sultan and German submarines. On the hills around the harbor you can still find the remains of ancient bastions. Now in Porto Koufo the visitors come to eat fresh fish in local taverns and admire the picturesque bay.
20 kilometers to the north is the city of Nikiti. It is worth visiting the picturesque old part of the city, which is located above the highway, and stroll along the cobbled streets to the St. Nikita temple. The temple offers a beautiful view of the sea and mountains. If you go down to the Nikiti embankment, near the sea, in the southern part of the village, are the ruins of the early Christian basilica of Sofronia (5th century AD)
Fans of longer car excursions can explore the entire peninsula of Chalkidiki and find out a lot of interesting things. For example
This is the easternmost “finger” of Chalkidiki, on which the famous monastic state is located. Only male pilgrims with special permission, called diamonitirion, can enter it. But you can take a cruise off the coast of St. Athos and see the monasteries from the sea, as well as be impressed by the grandeur of Mount Athos itself. At the border of the monastic state, near the town of Ouranoupoli, there is a single monastery of Athos, which can be visited by women. This is the monastery of Zigu of 10th century, which now operates as a museum.
On the east coast of Chalkidiki are the ruins of the ancient city of Stagira, where the great Aristotle was born and where his grave was discovered on top of one of the hills. Near the ancient city is located the village of Olympiada with an excellent beach, famous for its fish taverns. A few kilometers from the Olympiada, in the mountains, you can find the beautiful forest waterfalls of Varvara.
Park of Aristotle.
In the mountainous part of Chalkidiki among the beautiful forests there is a theme park dedicated to the discoveries of Aristotle. It will be interesting for both adults and children – the park’s exhibits demonstrate how the physical laws discovered by Aristotle work. Everything can be touched, twisted and personally checked, students and pupils will be delighted. In addition, above the park are the ruins of the Ottoman baths of the 15th century, which can also be viewed.
The ancient capital of Chalcidiki, which lasted only 84 years. This city is almost 2500 years old, it was built according to the hippodam system – with wide streets and squares, typical houses and blocks. The city had running water and sewage, and the floors of many houses were lined with unique river stone mosaics.
Monastery of St. John the Apostle
This monastery is known for the burial of St. Paisios of Mount Athos. The monastery itself is located in a very picturesque place, on a mountain, and many people come every day to worship St. Paisios.
A unique karst cave was found in the Katsika mountain, where they found the remains of the oldest man in Europe. In the cave you can admire the stalactites and stalagmites and see the place where the ancient people were staying. Near the cave there is the Paleontological Museum.
City of Arnea
This mountain town is worth a visit because of the exceptionally picturesque old houses of traditional Macedonian architecture. The quarters of the old town look like an open-air museum, on the old houses there are signs with the name of the owner and the date of construction. In the city center it is recommended to visit the largest temple in Chalkidiki – St. Stephen’s Temple. Under its glass floors you can see the remains of three earlier temples, starting with the early Christian basilica.
Beaches near Paradissos
The shores of Sithonia are strongly indented and form many large and small bays. Almost at every turn you can find another beach, crowded or deserted, wild or with facilities in the form of sun beds and umbrellas at the beach bar.
To the north of the village Paradissos, several beautiful beaches are located in a row, each of which has its own zest. And all are clean with breathtakingly beautiful color of water. Most of them are marked with the Blue Flag.
Lagomandra: pine grove near the beach, where you can relax all day. Pines, golden sand, sea and picturesque rocks attract many tourists.
Akti Elias: not too wide sandy beach, side by side with several 4-5-star hotels.
Spathies: a small paradise of two small coves, hiding between white rocks and dark green pines.
Akti Kalogrias: a wide, sandy beach, well equipped, with a large parking lot at one of the beach bars.
Akti Kovyu: a small bay with golden sand, clean sea and little crowded.
Agios Yiannis – wide sandy beach with well-equipped parking at the beach bar. Near you can find an observation deck, where you can make beautiful photos.
If you go south of Paradissos, then there are excellent beaches near the hotel Porto Carras and further along the coast – the cute cove of Agia Kyriaki, Azapiko, Destenika, Tristinika, Toroni.
On the east side of Sithonia there are also gorgeous beaches, no less famous for their beauty. Particularly noteworthy beaches are Vourvourou, Caridi, Kavourotripes, Sarti, Kalamitsi, Trani Ammouda. You can list the beaches pretty long and if you feel that you are a real explorer, you should go round all of Sithonia – you will see how beautiful it is in its diversity!